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News: 2011 Press Release
For Release: October 13, 2011
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones Comments on Blue Shield's Refund to Policyholders
Commissioner also stresses need for rate reform, passage of AB 52
Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones today issued the following statement after Blue Shield followed through on its plan to cap profits at two percent of its revenue, resulting in a refund of $295 million to the insurer's policyholders.
"This is good news for Blue Shield policyholders who will save money on their health insurance premiums this year. This voluntary action to cap profits, which Blue Shield of California announced earlier this year, is welcome news. Unfortunately, other health insurers and HMO's show no indication that they intend to cap skyrocketing profits or rates, which is why we still need the State Senate to pass AB 52 to give me the authority to reject excessive rate hikes," said Commissioner Jones.
News reports earlier this year indicated that the five largest health insurers in this country made a combined profit of $11.7 billion last year. That was a 17% increase over the 2009 profit of $9.9 billion and a 51% increase over the $7.8 billion made in 2008. In California, Anthem Blue Cross reported a 21% return on equity in 2010, during a time when families and businesses are struggling in this economy.
Commissioner Dave Jones is sponsoring AB 52 (Feuer) which would give the Insurance Commissioner and the Department of Managed Health Care Director the authority to reject excessive health insurance premiums. AB 52 passed the State Assembly earlier this year and is in the Senate Floor where it may be considered in January.
The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California, regulating the $123 billion insurance marketplace. In 2012 the California Department of Insurance received more than 160,000 calls from consumers and helped recover over $64 million in claims and premiums. Please visit the Department of Insurance web site at www.insurance.ca.gov. Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800.927.HELP. Out-of-state callers, please dial 213.897.8921. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.
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